Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty. First off can you tell us about your time in Australia, who inspired you to become a DJ and about making the move to London?
My best friend and I left Australia nearly ten years ago – we had finished school, we were super young, didn’t really think about what we were doing, had no real plans (or money) but off we went on an adventure and we never went back. At that point I didn’t really know what a DJ actually was. I’ve always loved music. It has always been my one true love since I was a little girl. I had learnt music & instruments and had played in a band in Sydney. I lived for going out and raving every weekend, but had never considered being a DJ. I then worked for a long time as a Nanny in London – it was during this time that I learnt to DJ. It wasn’t anyone one or anything in particular that inspired me to do this. I just knew I loved music and I had lots of fun planning and putting together playlists for when I had parties at my house. And that’s what I imagined a DJ to be. I knew nothing about turntables or CDJ’s or anything like that! So i paid a guy to teach me. Borrowed people’s decks to practice then blagged a few gigs! I started off playing at venues where I would be playing 6/7 hour sets which when you’re a beginner was pretty daunting of course, but it made me a much better DJ, much more quickly. I started producing 18 months ago.
Your latest track is available now as a free download via XLR8R: Up All Night (Waiting For The Angels). Where did you get the inspiration for the track and talk us through how you produced it?
The track is a kind of a cover of a cover. It’s based on Greg Wilson’s cover of Grace Jones “Williams Blood”. Everything has been re recorded – the only sample I used from the Jones original recording is her vocal snippet “I’m waiting for the angels” in the breakdown.
I had wanted to try and do a cover or remix type thing of a track for a while. I play the Greg Wilson remix at some bars that I play at, so I thought I would have a go at that one. The Grace Jones original is particularly spectacular though.
Like most of my music, production wise there’s not loads going on; when you strip it down, it’s pretty simple. The baseline based on the Greg Wilson version was made with a Vermona synth. That beautiful and melancholy chord progression based in the original track, is a Juno. I recorded my own vocals, which I do in most of my music. I often process them in the same way by throwing on some cool little reverbs and delays. I tend to use logic’s stereo delay or H-Delay, and I normally layer the space designer with some ratshack reverb and maybe the Valhalla Freq Echo.
There’s some fairly basic drums and percussion in there, another rhythmic chord pattern that comes in from the breakdown, which is actually just a logic preset. I mean, it’s not a life changing piece of music. It’s just a nice little vibe track which I wrote after being inspired by music I love.
How important do you think it is for contemporary Dance tracks to contain a musical element along with the use of vocals, when a lot don’t focus on either element?
For me personally it’s essential. I cannot bear generic and ‘perfect’ sounding dance music. For something to connect with me, I need to feel something. It could be any kind of feeling; euphoria, a feeling of being on the edge, melancholy, anything! But that’s how I connect to a piece of music. I need to feel like there is a soul, or some small sign of human life behind a song. I need to feel like someone actually made this music, that their passion and soul went into making it. And the way I feel something is mostly through real musical elements, as opposed to just making beats. That’s what helps creates soul in a piece of music, it’s the interesting or emotive chord progression, or a stirring pad, it’s a beautiful lyric, a quirky vocal, a string – a sign of life!
You are planning to start your own label: Love Story Recordings in the new year. What is the story behind that and what do you have lined up as the first release?
Yes I am!
I’m going to be super honest and say that the thing that pushed me to do this is that when I send music to people, 99.99% of the time I never hear back from anyone. That’s just the harsh reality. I’ve been lucky enough to land a few releases here and there, but ultimately sometimes if you want something done, you just have to do it yourself. I have music that I have lying around that I want to share with people and no one wants to put it out right now – so instead of moaning about it I just figured I’d get on with it and do it myself.
I’ll also be releasing great music from other people; and that can be anyone! The motto behind the label is that it is a ‘friendly and all encompassing electronic record label.’ No attitude, no egos. I want to provide a platform not only for my own music, but a place for people to be able to feel comfortable sending their music, being assured that their music will be listened to, and feedback provided when and where possible.
You made your debut appearance in Manchester in December at WHP. How was that experience and what message do you like to convey through music to people?
It was wicked! I cannot explain how grateful and blown away I was to be asked to play. I was truly humbled. I played in room 3 which I felt was much more suited to my music than the other rooms which was cool. I opened the stage, which was perfect as I really love warming up, and gradually creating something from nothing. My only disappoint of the night was the severe shortage of women in the crowd. Honestly I was shocked. It was like, the biggest sausage fest! Which kind of makes me sad. Where are you ladies, and why do you not want to go out and listen to dance music? I was chatting to someone about this the other day actually. He was talking about the early acid house days and what a great time it was, etc. and I asked him what the ratio of men to women was back then, and he said 50 50! I’d like to understand more as to why this has changed.
I want to convey happiness through music! Because that’s what dance music is all about. That’s why we go out in the middle of the night and dance in sweat pits. Because it’s fun and it makes us happy. I feel like this can sometimes be lost in dance music today, and the industry at times can take itself a little too seriously and give off the ”too cool’ vibe. So I’ve consciously made a point to myself to be all encompassing and always maintain a sense of fun. After all we are not saving lives; we are out having a laugh and a dance.
Tell us about your forthcoming release for Vitalik Recordings ‘Under My Skin’?
This has been a long time coming and I’m super excited about this! I sent this track out on a mailout and Ryan from Vitalik left some really great feedback – so I got in touch with him and when he found out it was unsigned he offered to sign it. The EP will included 2 remixes, one from Luca C’s new alias, and another from Path (aka Will Berridge). It will be out in March 2017.
Please talk us though your studio set-up, including a favourite piece of software/ hardware?
I produce in Logic. I share a studio in hackney, but to be honest I find myself pushed for time most of the time, so I often write basic tracks and sketches on the go with just my laptop and headphones. Before work or in my break at a coffee shop, or curled up in bed just before sleep is when I write basic outlines of tracks. Squeezing in an hour here and there when I can. Then I’ll use the studio to fill them out, record my vocals and finish them off. The only bits of kit I actually own are a bass bot 303 and a very average mic. The studio has loads of cool stuff I can use. An Sh101, there’s The Juno 106 which is something that I use a lot and some lush Focal monitors. Now there’s a Jupiter 8! But I haven’t used that yet…
I don’t really have any plug in software synths. If I do use them I just use logics own synths. I also use samples in my tracks that I find on Freesound, which I chop, process and try to be creative with. I also get help with my mixdowns. I know what I’m good at right now and what I’m not good at. I haven’t been producing long enough to have the time to be able to be good at mixdowns at this point in time, and my skills in this area are basic – so I need help with that!
Outside of Dance music who do you like to listen to, watch or read?
I probably listen to way more music which isn’t dance music on a regular basis. I love music so so much! I go through phases of listening to stuff. At the moment I’ve been listening to Elliot Smith, The Kills, Kevin Morby, Beyond The Wizards Sleeve new album. I’ve been listening through all of Moby’s albums and feeling nostalgic. I still listen to the Amelie soundtrack most days and have done for years now. I was listening through Carole King’s catalogue the other day. Like how the hell can one person write so many bangers?? Banger after banger! I get obsessed with songs and play them like 25 times in a row every single day for a few weeks before moving onto to the next craze. At the moment it’s Jean Michel Blais “Nostos.” If there is just one thing you do today, please please take five minutes out and listen to this incredible piece of music. I’m biased towards music from the 50’s through to the 80’s.
I only read on holidays – I love non-fiction books on super dark and depressing subject matters, or I like to read about spiritual stuff and the universe. I’m also a sucker for the worst kind of mind numbing reality TV. Like the kind of stuff you go to hell for watching.
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